Description of the Parson in The Canterbury Tales, by Geoffrey Chaucer

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“If you had to choose one book to help a person embarking on pastoral ministry, what would it be?” We posed that question to some pastors and professors. Here are their choices. —Ed.

In the general prologue of The Canterbury Tales, nestled among descriptions of corrupt church officials and worldly pilgrims, is this characterization of a small-church pastor who is Christlike and humble, who loves God, loves his people, loves his place, and preaches and teaches the Bible. Not afraid to prophetically challenge, he is always motivated by Christ-centered love. He reads books and thinks, he prays, and he visits, visits, visits. He knows that being a pastor is not about himself but is about God and God’s people. Chaucer’s model of a true pastor is as pertinent today as it was in the 14th century.

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